Fisherman

A man was night fishing at surf’s edge in the darkness of a new moon.

He felt a strong tug on his rod and the battle began with what he thought must be a hammerhead shark. But as he began to win the contest and reeled the creature to shore, he saw a tumble of arms and legs. These were so pale that they glowed with their own sort of moonlight. These human limbs were almost phosphorescent.

It was a boy, he figured a corpse, some luckless soul drowned at sea.

As he pulled the body onto dry sand, using his hands now, he heard a sputtering, and fish-like sounds came from the mouth. Though it appeared to be a boy with long jet black hair, webs and fins were all about the body. This “boy” had human legs. It was not a merman. The creature seemed stunned from having been pulled from its element.

“Speak!” the man commanded the creature.

But it could only gurgle in the air. Perhaps, he thought, it could speak only underwater.

So the fisherman took his club and beat it to death.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When the fisherman served the flesh of the sea creature in a soup to his son, the boy was puzzled by the strange taste.

“What sort of fish is this?” he asked. A clear distaste was evident in his face, the twisting of his handsome features.

“Monkfish,” the father replied, without looking up from his own bowl.

They had only each other as family. The boy’s mother had died in childbirth. He had learned to trust his father. Though the young man did not like the taste of the strange “fish,” in fact despised it, he dutifully finished the meal.

Soon after that night, the fisherman’s son fell sick. He fell into a torpor and then a fever. He raved in his bed as he tossed and turned. He talked constantly of the sea. He told his father he would die if he were not placed in the sea.

A doctor was consulted but could do nothing. The father felt great shame for having fed his son the flesh of the creature. Oddly enough, he himself had not fallen ill, though he had eaten the same meal.

After more than a week of his son’s suffering and worsening of his condition, the father took his son to the sea. The moon was now restored, bright. He carried the boy to the surf’s edge. He laid him in the soothing, wet sand.

As soon as he began splashing some water on his son’s face, the boy seemed to improve a little. He said it helped.

“These clothes,” his son moaned. The father understood and helped him out of his sweat-drenched vestments. He was horrified to see the fins that had sprouted on his son’s arms, on his legs near his ankles, the webbing between his toes and around his neck.

The boy began to crawl towards the sea.

The father saw him struggling and helped him to reach a depth of water where he could float. He could feel his son growing stronger by the minute as they went further into the ocean.

His son smiled. Then he laughed.

“Thank you, father. Thank you thank you thank thank you….” he said as he swam away.

(This is my adaptation of a Japanese folktale of which countless versions exist.)

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[bob]

bob sits in a chinese restaurant’s lobby
does some headspins
gets a horoscope done
plays a first person karate video game
hears someone play a violin
kale arrives, more people
winter capes are shaking out flakes
bob is confused
animals are worn on shoulders
bob is new here

bob examines the chinese buffet
food is held in plastic buckets
humans are very strange
chinese food resembles horoscopes
kale arrives, more people
winter capes are left in booths
bob is caught eating one
everyone is confused

bob is new here
there are screams
bob does some headspins

Guessed It All Along

I have this interstellar feeling,
I keep having this outer
space feeling, this awful
feeling, that when we get
to the end of the universe
by extragalactic probe or whatever,
some futuristic beam,
we will find another
universe begins there
like another dream,
and there will be this fence,
this ancient fence,
with a sign that refers
to us, to all of us,
and the sign will read
“QUARANTINE.”
And the worst part
will be, the absolute
worst of it will be
that we’ll feel no need,
no earthly need
to wonder or ask
why.

Future Nights

Bred nights to have night
ideas, night worlds.
I get only a fish glimpse
of my dreams. Some of them
are on treadmills, I think.
Tower debris, tower static,
this is how I wake up.
Every which reptile while
behind the time-lapsed traffic
there’s a flashing repetition
I might confuse with your name.
New self-replicating transits
appear right outside this window,
behind the Basquiat plant’s steam.
The State has these god-like captures,
satellite selfies give me screaming mimis.
Of course, I feel hella Neolithic
living here in all this space garbage.
Did you know red is fatal to birds,
why they fly into those radio and t.v.
towers blinking like Mars all night?
Go look at all the dead warblers
at their bases if you don’t believe me.
We’ve scrambled their magnetism up.
I know an artist who is making a cape
from these. A king of Easter Island.
Soon, moai will start appearing
all around your city. They’ll rise up
out of the earth into the night,
as cyber-bees that will be launched,
fly around the bodies of nightwalkers
to advertise with small beams
of white light. Face of Wm. Burroughs
will be on a candy bar that makes
all the faces melty cheese. Children will stay
in transit tubes at all times, going
from home to work or school.
The animal fringes are coloring
our future, the entire atmosphere
just an interplanetary pinwheel.

After Philip K. Dick

I brought in an agency to study my agency.
I had to hire from outside, “off the street”
so to speak. I had to fill these chairs
with otherness. How can I trust these strangers
to represent the agency I think of as mine?
I worry about the foreign interest problem.
I wanted my business to run smoothly as the Cogito,
in a cool circle. What if I told you my business
is recycling my business, and that’s all we do here?
We never need to open or close the doors.
We never gain new employees or lose one to attrition.
We break down the formulas, furniture and other infrastructure
and produce new offices daily from that. Growth
is the least of our worries, since it’s entropy’s best friend.
Ever since we shut our doors forever, business is booming.